After 35 years of business in Arvada, Colorado, a beloved family sushi restaurant is set to close its doors this weekend.
Personal and financial struggles: Namiko Eshima, owner of Namiko’s Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant, announced in a heartfelt Facebook post that the establishment will be permanently ending its operations on Jan. 13. Eshima attributed her decision to her second breast cancer diagnosis in Nov. 2023 and financial hardships exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I did everything in my power to keep Namikos open through personal and financial destruction. I have decided it is time to make the very hard decision to close my doors, I need to put my second battle with breast cancer and family first… To the Japanese American community, I would like to say thank you for everyone’s support of my mother’s dream and my family. ARIGATO.”
End of an era: Founded by Eshima’s mother Yuri Chandonnet in 1988, the restaurant has been a cherished part of the local landscape for over three decades. Shortly after Chandonnet’s passing in 2017, Eshima received her first cancer diagnosis but was able to beat it after a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and 31 rounds of radiation, reported 9News.
Determined to fulfill her mother’s dream, Eshima eventually took over the business. When the business was hit with a 70-75% drop in sales due to the pandemic, she refused to give up and instead invested her mother’s inheritance, sold her house and took out a $100,000 loan to keep the business afloat.
The news of the restaurant’s closure has stirred an outpouring of support from the Arvada community. Eshima’s post drew comments from patrons expressing their deep connections to the restaurant and sympathy for her health battle. The restaurant, now running until inventory sells out, has since seen a surge in patrons as locals gather for a final taste of their favorite dishes. The community has also rallied to assist Eshima by contributing to a fundraising campaign on Spotfund
set up by a friend to cover her medical costs.